前回のブログではいかに中国のE-commerceが世界をリードするかについて解説しましたが、そのE-commeceの産みの親とも言えるJack Maがここ数ヶ月行方不明です。またこの事件がきっかけで予定されていたAnt Group の上場が直前になって中止されました。（上場に関しては１０月９日付けのvlog を参照）この記事は中国が抱える政治体制と経済発展が引き起こす矛盾ということを如実に表している記事として注目に値します。
Title : Where Is Alibaba Founder Jack Ma? What the Saga of One of the World’s Richest Men Reveals About China Under Xi Jinping
Why this article is important : because this incident reveals the big conflict between Chinas political system and economic development
What are the key points :
Jack Ma is missing for a few month since he made a speech in Shanghai. He was careful not to say anything offensive to Chinas central government, but inadvertently criticized Chinas financial regulatory system.
How do I view this article:
This is the symbolic event which characterizes the conflict between Chinas new capitalism and politics.
This is the biggest challenge China will face in the future and needs to hit the right balance between its control and freedom on the economic development.
On Oct. 24, Jack Ma, the man behind China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, gave a speech in Shanghai at the Bund Summit, a gathering billed as a “an open, pragmatic and internationally influential financial high-end communication platform.” In such a setting, 56-year-old Ma probably felt entitled to share a few insights from a career that has seen him take Alibaba from a company of less than 20 people—started in his flat in the coastal city of Hangzhou in 1999—to a tech giant that pulled in $71.985 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending Mar. 31, 2020.
According to an English transcript published by Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper, Ma, who is personally worth $48.2 billion, hedged his speech carefully. He described himself as “a somewhat retired man … sharing the non-professional views of a non-professional” and conceded that his ideas might be “immature, inaccurate or even laughable.” Politely, he threw in a couple of quotes from China’s strongman President Xi Jinping. But as he began inviting the audience—described by Reuters as “the great and the good of China’s financial, regulatory and political establishment”—to consider the need for reform of the country’s financial system, he crossed a line.
He obliquely chided Chinese regulators for stifling innovation, and said that Chinese banks suffered from a “pawnshop mentality” given that banks, like the informal lenders of yore, still relied on a system of “pledges and collateral.”
This wasn’t all bad, Ma granted. “In the old days,” he pointed out, “a pawnshop was an advanced idea. Had it not been for innovations such as pledges and collateral, there would be no financial institutions today, and the Chinese economy would not have developed over the past 40 years to such a point now.”
But the listening cadres were infuriated. On Nov. 2, Ma was summoned by Chinese authorities for questioning. The next day, the $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s fintech arm Ant Financial—touted as a record-breaking offering—was nixed by China’s securities watchdog despite it earlier having received a green light.
By late December, regulators had instructed Ant Group to restructure its operations to adhere to new anti-monopoly rules, shaving billions off its valuation.
Then, late last week, Ma was replaced by another Alibaba executive for the televised final episode of a business talent contest he had been helming, with his picture scrubbed from the gallery of judges. Ma has now not been seen in public for at least two months. An Alibaba spokeswoman declined to comment on his whereabouts when contacted by TIME.